Thousands of people will flock to Wylie this weekend for some summer fun at the Bluegrass on Ballard music festival.
Alecia Nugent packed a bag and traveled from Nashville for the event, but rather than listening to music, Nugent will be the headliner for the festival, playing a mix of original music and bluegrass favorites.
Nugent was born in Hickory Grove, LA, but currently resides in Nashville. She said she grew up in a musical household with her father starting a Bluegrass band the year she was born.
“There is not a lot of bluegrass music in Louisiana,” Nugent said. “But my dad somehow found his way to it and loved it.”
The band consisted of Nugent’s father on upright bass, his brother playing guitar and his cousin on mandolin.
“They did it as a hobby,” Nugent said. “They played some regional shows.”
She developed a love for bluegrass and country music and joined her father’s band as a vocalist when she was 15.
Nugent said she went solo when she was about 25 and eventually secured a deal with Rounder Records, where she made three bluegrass albums.
After her third album, Nugent took a hiatus from music to focus on her family.
“It’s not easy being a woman and having children and trying to be on the road,” Nugent said. “That was the reason I came off the road.”
She returned to music in 2017 and began working on her fourth album, a traditional country album called “The Old Side of Town.”
“It’s not that I wanted to make a change. It’s just something that I have always wanted to do,” Nugent said. “I grew up loving all kinds of music.”
The vocalist said she has been told that her voice was “more country than it was bluegrass.”
“A lot of the song and material that I chose probably fit country more than bluegrass,” she said, adding that her bluegrass albums were “country-flavored.”
The artist said she wrote songs dealing with events that occurred in her life during her performing hiatus such as her father’s death and a tragic accident that killed her daughter’s boyfriend.
“These were songs I was writing that fit a more traditional country album,” she said. “It is a window into the things that happened in my life during that time.”
She has several ideas in the works, including a duet, but nothing she called a “whole project.”
Nugent said bluegrass is a genre of music that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
Alan Tompkins of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is responsible for booking Bluegrass on Ballard bands. Nugent is an “extremely talented vocalist with a smooth, elegant voice who sings warm, comfortable songs,” Tompkins said adding that he booked Nugent because he thinks she will be well-received by attendees at the event.
East Mountain will open the show, taking the stage at 1 p.m. followed by the Downtown String Band at 2 p.m.
Salt Creek performs at 3:15 p.m. and Brad Davis Trio goes on at 4:20 p.m.
Gold Heart takes the stage at 5:35 p.m.
Nugent closes the night out with her set beginning at 7:10 p.m.